Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella Attacked The Miz and Maryse
Needless to say, I'm stoked the Bryan vs. Miz feud is far from over and is instead just getting started after Miz cheated to beat Bryan at SummerSlam on Sunday. Miz mocking Bryan's retirement elicited excellent heat from the audience and led to an even bigger pop for Bryan when he eventually emerged. I should have seen the mixed tag team match coming, but I was genuinely surprised to see Brie Bella when she came out, so that was a cool moment. This was a hot angle to open the show with. By the way, how crazy is it that Maryse will already be back to wrestling mere months after having a baby?
Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy by Disqualification
Orton and Hardy have had a ruthless rivalry going since Extreme Rules last month, and although this started out slow, they picked up the pace down the stretch and had a solid match. The non-finish was important in protecting both guys and giving Hardy a measure of revenge, though I don't know if I would have gone as far as to have Hardy deliver a Swanton Bomb to Orton from the top of a production set. If nothing else, it was an awesome visual.
Peyton Royce def. Naomi
After not paying attention to the first half of the match, my girlfriend admitted to me halfway through that she couldn't have cared less about this bout, and I didn't blame her one bit. I like Naomi and The IIconics, but the crowd reaction to this was flat because they've largely been off television for so long and haven't been positioned as important players in a while. It was a decent enough matchup, but we'll see if Royce winning actually leads anywhere or if Naomi will get her win back as soon as next week.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch Brawled
I think we can all agree that Charlotte is being miscast as the babyface in this program with Lynch, because Lynch received a louder babyface reaction here than she did prior to the turn at SummerSlam. Her logic for turning on Charlotte was actually sound, and even when she attempted to bash the audience, they stood by her, anyway. Her promo reminded me of when Sami Zayn went heel late last year because no one expected either of them to be so brilliant in the heel role. The subsequent brawl between her and Charlotte was also well done.
Rusev and Lana def. Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega
It was pretty obvious a rematch was inevitable after the heels won on the SummerSlam Kickoff show, though this wasn't much of an improvement. Rusev and Almas had chemistry together, but Vega and Lana continue to fail to have any sort of exciting interaction. On the whole, it was a nice little match. Aiden English's interference didn't backfire for once, so it seems all is fine with him, Rusev and Lana... for now.
Samoa Joe Attacked WWE Champion AJ Styles
Not only did I love the match these two had at SummerSlam, the story they've been telling with Styles' family took yet another personal turn on Sunday night as well and made me that much more invested in their program. Styles had a fiery retort for Joe here, though it was apparent from the second this segment started that Joe was going to ambush his archrival. Despite that, it was an effective angle where Joe came off as extremely ruthless. For what it's worth, I'm in full favor of him taking the WWE Championship from Styles at Hell in a Cell.
The New Day def. The Bludgeon Brothers in a No Disqualification Match to Win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Coming out of SummerSlam, it was reported that Rowan was injured, and you honestly couldn't even tell that here based off his performance. Granted, Harper did most of the work/took a majority of the offense for his team, but props to Rowan for competing at all. This was an extremely entertaining encounter that benefited from both teams incorporating a wide variety of weapons and using them to their advantage in addition to a fun final stretch. New Day taking the titles would have been the best booking decision regardless of whether Rowan was hurt because this move breaths new life into an otherwise stagnant division.
As a post-SummerSlam episode, I found this to be a much stronger show overall than Raw on Monday night (which had a memorable ending, yes, but felt lethargic all things considered). The tag titles changing hands in the main event was newsworthy, Bryan and Brie vs. Miz and Maryse was confirmed for Hell in a Cell next month, feuds were furthered with Styles, Joe, Hardy and Orton, and Lynch knocked it out of the park on her first night as a heel. Of course, I'm biased because I was in attendance for this edition of SmackDown Live and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but it's great the blue brand appears to be maintaining the momentum it built up for itself heading into SummerSlam.
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